A Travellerspoint blog

Belia, Day 2

Today we left for the train station fairly early in the morning to head back to Yilan. On our way from Taipei to Hualien we passed through Yilan, so we gave Belia a call and asked if we took a train to Yilan would she be up for hanging out? She emailed us back a little too late telling us that yesterday she was free the whole day, but today she had plans in the afternoon. But she said if we wanted to get an early start that we could catch some more really good vegan breakfast in Yilan, and then she could drive us into Taipei to go the the museum. This was the place that everyone kept telling us that we had to go see when we were in Taiwan because they have all the old Chinese artifacts that may have been lost after the cultural revolution if it wasn't for most of them being taken oversees to Taiwan.

But first, before breakfast, Belia took us back to her office for some real, real, real real real real real coffee.

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Then she took us to a little shop where we got some rice milk and breakfast. Here we ran into some of her friends, and the one held an actual tea ceremony with us! He was really cool, and he had us drink hot water to clean our pallets, and then he would give us little little tea cups filled with tea he just brewed. Then when we finished he would refill our tea as his grandson kept trying to grab the tea pot. Belia eventually had to take him into her lap to keep him from burning himself. “How old are you?” Joe asked him in Chinese. The little boy wouldn't answer, but his grandmoth said that he was 2. I would have guessed 4 going on 5. They agreed that he was gargantuan for his age, and they blamed it on that his father is a milk drinker.

After breakfast Belia drove us back through the mountains into Taipei.

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I love how everyone walks with umbrellas on sunny days like old England and how children and dogs can ride on the scooters just the same as a shit ton of boxes and luggage.

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post man:

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101:

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The Chinese would be appalled by this sign:

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This is a restarunt:

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power boxes:

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7-11 (They are everywhere! Even in trees!)

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Squirl:

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Tunnel:

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The museum! And there were tons of people! Why are there so many people? Then Belia read us the sign. “Ohhhhh,” she said as she scrunched up her face. “This weekend is National Museum day.” The crapy part was we lost each other about 40 bajillion times and were pushed and prodded by throngs of people. The good think was that we got in for half off! (And yes, my money is again, worthless today.)

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We couldn't take pictures inside, but you know what thats going to look like. Lots of glass boxes with pots, jewels, paintings, books and woodworking (ridiculously intricate woodworking though. I thought at one point that this box was made of ivory with a fine lace mesh inside lacing the walls. No, it was all ivory! Ivory carved down so fine and detailed that it looked like a flower designed lace). So least for the ivory section, it wasn't anything that you wouldn't expect. Our favort wood carvings was the one called “Life's 4 Greatest Pleasures.” They were 4 individually carved little men. One was stretching his arms out real wide, the other was picking his ear, another scratching his back, and the last was digging for gold... in his nose.

About 15 minutes into the museum Belia mentions that we maybe should buy the headphones everyone else was wearing to get the full detail about what is in the exhibits (that, and have a detailed English translation). I told her that I was fine, but Joe you could tell wanted them. So after a little moving the head side to side with squinted eyes, he told her that he would really like that. So we ran back downstaris, got the headphones, and then ran back upstairs where Joe immediately takes control of his newly acquired map of where the audio will play, and we had to go exactly in order to make sure that we didn't miss a thing! This method of seeing the meuseum ended up taking a very long time, and so we didn't make it out of the museum until almost 4pm which was when Belia had to leave to make it to the next city over where she was meeting her husband for dinner.

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“We have time,” she insisted and took us to lunch. But, the vegetarian restaurants she tried were all closed already for the after lunch pre dinner setup. “Don't worry!” She told us, and she drove us to Costco's. I thought that we were going to split some bulk food for lunch, but then she took us to the mall right next door. “As long as we spend $1 at one of the shops in this parking area, parking is free!” So we parked at the Costco's and she took us to the mall food court. Then she asked us where we were staying. Well, Channa couldn't take us in on the weekend, and we were still waiting to hear back from Ashley's boyfriend about couchsurfing with him. This was unacceptable for Belia, so she ran out to the car, got her laptop, and started searching the internet for a hostel. But, all the ones she called were booked. “Belia, don't worry about us, we can stay in the hotel we stayed at last time near our friend Channa's place. Then we will stay with her tomorrow. Go meet you husband!” She was hesitant, but I finally convinced her that we weren't all together helpless, but she said that she had to at least drop us off at the metro. Us with Bilia just outside the metro:

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Joe had to go to the bathroom, so I waited for him inside the station. 10 minutes later, we were ready to go. About 30 of traveling went by when Joe realized that he left his secret pouch in the bathroom! “How! How could you loose that!” He takes the lanyard off when he gos #2 to keep it from sitting in his lap, but then he forgot to put it back on! It had his passport and all his money and important things in it! But his passport! Not again! And now it was getting late and we wouldn't make it to the hotel before it was probably booked too! Joe had a plan. We were goig to split up. He would go back to the first station, and I would go onto the next station where the hotel was. In Taiwan you pay for your exit, so as long as Joe never left the station, we wouldn't have to pay again (not that it really mattered at this point). He said that he would meet me at the hotel.

When I got to the hotel, the only room they had left was the Family suit. Fuck! I walked outside and sat next to the building. All the other hotels around here were more expensive than this one! And this one was already pushing it! for about 15 minutes I freaked out about what to do. When would Joe be here? How can I contact him to meet me somewhere else? Where should we go? I calmed down and walked right back into the hotel and asked her (knowing what the answer was last time), if there were any other hotels around, cheeper or not. She gave me directions for 2 different hotels, one in each direction. As I power walked to the first hotel I got out my American phone and called my mom. $3 a minute be damned! “Can you find out if there is a hotel with space available in Taipei?” We kept it short, and I explained to her that Joe may have also lost his passport, so that was why I was freaking out a little more than necessary with this hotel thing. After about 20 minutes I found the hotel, and it was actually about $10 cheeper than the one we stayed at last time, and they had space. “Can you hold this for me while I go to an ATM?” Sure, they said, and I booked it back to the first hotel. “Mom, I got a room for $55.” “Great, all I could find was $80.” She told me to call her when I know if Joe has his passport. Back at the hotel Joe was surfing on their internet for hotels. “I thought you'd come back, so I just waited here.” “Great! Lets go! I have a hotel holding a room in walking distance or we can waste money on one stop on the subway.” Joe agreed to walk, and we had a slight feasco trying to find an ATM that 1. Was in service, and 2. took Visa (not everywhere I want to be... but close. Good job guys. Way to be the McDonalds of credit cards).

The hotel had resonantly priced beer in the fridge, so I had one while I took a bath! This was the first bathtub I had seen in over 3 months! It even had the curvature of the tub to have an nice angle for your head to rest! Joe, on the other hand, had some credit card problems of his won to deal with. He was on the internet with my mom, skyping with his citi card customer service, pretending that she was his mother attempting to help him unlock his internet account so he can access his money over seas. Yeah, if that didn't throw up a red flag of SCAM, then Citi just wasn't doing its job. However, thats all the props I can give them b/c I don't know how many times after this phone call they told Joe that everything would be working in an hour, or by the next morning, and it never was.

Taiwan Chinglish of the trip:

Delicious in Agile

Posted by - Rain 04:39

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